- Religious Freedom
Why is Burma attacking only the Rohingya?
As the Burmese military drives out upward of 600,000 Rohingya in what one United Nations official called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” most media analyses correctly highlight ethno-religious discrimination and economic motives.
But that leaves us with the question: Why only the Rohingya? Burma, also known as Myanmar, has other hated ethnic groups. Since the country first gained independence from the British in 1948, its government has been fighting the Karen, the Karenni, the Kachin, the Shan and the Mon. Those ethnic groups have had armed militias for decades. The Rohingya only recently spawned a small armed group — and most Rohingya disapprove of their methods.
So why are the Rohingya being so brutally singled out? The answer lies in Burma’s peculiarly stratified hierarchy of citizenship.